Cable distributors and content
providers are trying to figure out how to take advantage
of the iPad’s technologically advanced
interface and consumer popularity to offer live
television content. Already more than
3 million of the 9-inch tablet computers
have been sold since it launched
in April, and those numbers are expected
to further build with the holiday
season fast approaching.
As a result, several new cable-based
apps have either launched or are in development
that could turn the iPad into
a portable cable converter to provide
more mobility while watching your favorite
cable shows and events live.
Last week Verizon FiOS TV announced
plans to launch an app that
will turn the iPad into an extra cable converter
in the home, allowing Verizon subscribers to
watch live on the device the same cable networks
they enjoy on their 60-inch HD sets. The free app,
which could be available as early as first-quarter
2011, downloads a video mosaic of the most popular
programming currently being viewed by authenticated
Verizon subscribers. Users would be
able to touch one of the images to launch the live
feed, according to Verizon officials.
Of course, there’s still the matter of getting the networks
to agree to allow Verizon to stream their feeds
to the iPad, but the telco is confident it can convince
networks that the iPad is an extension of the traditional
cable pipe and not a substitute.
Earlier this month Dish Network
proclaimed it will launch this fall an
iPad app that allows subscribers using
the satellite service’s new spiffy, Slingbox-
enabled DVR set-top box to watch
live TV or download recorded programming
for no additional charge.
Dish subscribers can change channels,
browse the program guide and access
other navigation features on TVs connected
to compatible receivers through
the iPad app.
Sports leagues have already jumped on
the iPad live video streaming bandwagon. Subscribers
of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket live game, out-ofmarket
package will be able to catch virtually every
touchdown on their iPads during the upcoming National
Football League season as part of the package’s
$50 broadband/mobile premium service.
With these and other projects in development, the
iPad is quickly becoming more than a glorified tablet
computer. It could become the first combined television
and cable converter to fit in a backpack.